3. Build Your Site for SEO

Build your landing pages around your keywords, with a landing page for each keyword topic. Trying to make a page rank for multiple keywords that are not closely related is often very difficult and can be counterproductive if the theme of the content on the page doesn’t match the keyword – so don’t go overboard with the keyword research! Ideally, your number of keywords and landing pages would coincide with the number of product and category pages your business has, plus each location (if you have multiple) you have and any special deals you offer. This will make it much easier not only for your pages to rank highly in search results, but it will also help you get content in front of the right audience.

When creating your landing pages, include your keywords in these places:

  • URL: Include your keywords at the beginning of your URL to tell both human users and search engines what sort of content they should expect to find on the page. Maintain a clear hierarchy of domain, category, sub-category and page. If your keyword has multiple words, avoid using underscores (like_this) between words. Use hyphens instead. Search engines interpret hyphens as word separators but don’t recognize underscores. That means they’ll see example.com/longtail_keyword they same as example.com/longtailkeyword, which will make it hard for them to interpret the URL.
  • Title tag: Search engines rely on title tags almost more than any other on page attribute to determine what a page is about, so they’re one of the most important parts of SEO. Optimize your title tags by including your keywords at the beginning, if they don’t take up the whole character limit. If you have the space and want to include multiple keywords, your location for local SEO, or your brand, use the pipes character (|) to set them apart.

If your title is too long it will get cut off in search results, so keep it under 60 characters, including spaces and punctuation. Search engines are really good at figuring out when you’re trying to manipulate the rankings, so don’t stuff your title tags full of keywords, or repeat keywords over and over again.

A page’s title is indicated in the page’s <head>. When implemented correctly, it looks like this:

<title>This is the Title</title>
  • Headers and Sub-heads: Search engines rely on headers and sub-heads to figure out a page’s topic, much like they do with title tags, particularly the <h1> tag. The h1 tag is the most important header on the page and can be considered the title for the page content (however, it’s not the same thing as the title tag), so include your keyword here. <h2> through <h6> tags are sub-headers and are used to structure your content for readers. They’re also an opportunity to use your keyword, and semantically related words and phrases, consistently throughout the page.Header tags also enhance your page’s user experience by giving it order and structure and therefore making it easier and more enjoyable to consume. Search engines take user experience into account when ranking pages, so using headers is good for your SEO.Note that with HTML4 you can really only use one <h1> tag per page, otherwise you risk looking like spam. However, with HTML5, you can use the <article> tag to denote different sections of content and give each section its own h1. If you aren’t using HTML5, or if you aren’t completely sure, play it safe and only use one <h1> tag on each page.
  • Meta description: Search engines don’t use meta descriptions as a ranking factor, but they are still an important part of your page’s SEO. Search engines combine descriptions with title tags and URLs to form search snippets, which they display in search results. Think of them like billboards for your page: Try to use enticing words/phrases if you are aiming for conversions like “cheap”, “deals”, “reviews” or “top 10”. A good meta description will help improve your organic CTR, which is a ranking factor. On the other hand, a bad or inaccurate meta description will cause a high bounce rate, which will be a clue to search engines that your page is irrelevant to the keyword or provides a bad user experience. Both of those things can cause you to drop in the rankings.

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